If you’re an entrepreneur looking for funding, you know how important—and involved—the pitching process can be. Designing a令人信服的音调甲板and identifying aneffective hookis just the start. Actually testing your pitch to see if it resonates with investors is the next step.
Why get feedback on your pitch deck?
You want feedback. On paper, your pitch may seem like a slam dunk, but until you put it all together, your deck,your plan, and your presentation are all hypothetically solid.
你想审查你的metricswith experts in your industry, see if there are any holes in your presentation, and make sure it reads well before you pitch your investors.
What feedback should you ask for?
Style can easily overshadow substance. You may have a visually stimulating pitch deck that is so overwhelming or off base that it becomes useless. So, try to set aside your personal investment in the deck and try to answer the following questions.
Does your pitch deck fit your current brand? Are the graphics clear, consistent, and useful? Does the imagery choices match the focus on each slide? Do the color choices make it easy to read and skim through?
You want it to still be stylish and captivate your audience. But, you need to consider the readability of your slides, how it connects with the story your telling, and overall conveys the focus of your brand.
Clarity of content
This somewhat ties into the visual aesthetic but with a greater focus on the content your covering. It can be easy to stuff your deck with countless slides of information that serve very little purpose. So, you need to ask your audience to identify any sections that seem redundant, unfocused, or meaningless.
In the end, you want a streamlined and digestible pitch deck to present to investors. Yes, you do need to consider, an expanded appendix,similar to your business plan, that investors can peruse at a later time. But when presenting, it needs to be straight to the point and not just a copy of what you intend to verbally cover.
One of the biggest issues you may overlook is not including the right information in your pitch. A gap in yourroadmap, no outline of how you intend to use funds or even an unspecified目标市场can sink your pitch.
So, ask those reviewing your pitch to write out any outstanding questions they have about your business. If you see a consistent gap, or even one call out that presents a major issue, find ways to add it in.
Where to get feedback on your pitch
So who are the best people to review your pitch? Drawing on advice from our own Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, and Josh Cochrane, our VP of Product Development, I’ve broken down a few of the different options for entrepreneurs looking for feedback on their pitch. I’ve also included advice from a few entrepreneurs, who shared what resources worked best for them.
1. Do a “practice pitch” for potential investors
A great place to start vetting your business pitch is with those investors that you hope will invest in your business.
After all, they are going to be the ones ultimately determining if your business is a viable investment, so why not find out early if there are holes in your data, or areas you should be covering more thoroughly?
Tim advises asking potential investors to sit in on a “pre-pitch” before the formal pitch session, a strategy that worked well forDune Sciences,which won the2014 Willamette Angel Conference investment.
“[Dune Sciences] asked at least three of the member investors to drop by their offices in the week or two preceding the due diligence and pitch session,” says Tim. “They were invited separately, and each of the three sat for the pitch and commented on it. The three who agreed to do it had some semblance of a relationship with the founders beforehand. They ended up with a nice pitch, and approximately $300K in seed money.”
Additionally, it may be worth your time to speak with investors outside of your industry. Seeking out investors who invest in a different space, can sometimes provide feedback from a new angle that those in your industry might have missed.
We’ll go over this more when we discuss angel investors, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind both the investors you have pegged for potential investment in your company, and those outside your field that may still be able to help in an advisory capacity.
2. Ask an angel investor
Targeting a particular angel investor can be a good tactic, as they are often willing to evaluate your pitch.
Tim advises checking out阵风,which lists regional and local angel groups. From there, you can reach out to an angel in your area.
Similarly,AngelListallows you to search by region and search for angels in an advisory capacity; by doing so you’ll be able to find angel investors in your area who may be willing to give you feedback.
3. Find a mentor and establish a relationship
有导师can be invaluable for your progression as an entrepreneur. Finding a person in your industry that you can rely on to get advice, answer your questions, and discuss your ideas with may well be your most valuable asset.
如果您有一个良好的关系的导师，这可能是将为您提供诚实的人，有时会令人沮丧的反馈，最终会帮助您的业务更好。根据肖恩希格斯，联合创始人ilos Videos, “you’ll want to connect with people who aren’t afraid to tell you that your projections are too aggressive or that you’re shooting yourself in the foot with slide XYZ.” “Usually it’s hard to get this kind of feedback from an outsider.”
你在哪里找到导师？布莱恩康克林，创始人兼首席执行官ZylorecommendSCORE,which helps entrepreneurs get in contact with potential mentors. “I recently got assigned a mentor from SCORE who has given valuable feedback on my pitches and plans for the business,” he says. “I plan on utilizing SCORE’s resources and my mentor to further refine my approach towards the business.”
4. Ask your intended customers for feedback
到目前为止，我们涵盖了各种方式，即企业家可以通过行业专业人士锻造他们的音高。但是，虽然重要的是向您在您的行业中询问投资者或其他突出的思想家进行反馈，但这只是一个拼图的一部分 - 询问您的潜在客户提供反馈也很重要。
Josh says, “I usually advise entrepreneurs to test their concept by getting feedback directly from their intended customers. Those are the best people to validate the company’s opportunity.”
Josh suggests asking the following questions:
- This problem we’ve identified, is it a real problem for you?
- How big of a problem?
- Would you pay to solve it?
- What are the existing options to solve it? Have you tried them? How do they fall short for you?
- What do you think of our proposed solution?
- Would you pay for our solution?
- Any sense of how much you’d be happy paying for it?
Not only will this process help youget feedback on your product，但它也会通知您的音高。如果您在从潜在客户的反馈中发现重新定位主题，请务必在音高的前期地址地址。
For example, do your potential customers say they would buy your product, even at its high cost, because they believe it will really and truly solve their problem? State this early on in your pitch, and you may have assuaged a lot of investor concerns from the get-go.
5. Head down to your local Small Business Development Center
一个旧的待命，有一个好理由 - 你的当地人Small Business Development Centeris an excellent resource for information on a variety of business-related topics.
Operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBDCs provide entrepreneurs and business owners with a variety of free or low-cost services, such as consulting, business plan development, and assistance with寻找贷方和投资者.
6. Get involved with a university entrepreneurship center
从MIT’s Martin Trust Acceleratorto俄勒冈大学的伦敦特魁纪克特创业中心—which offers students a chance to participate in events like theNew Venture Championship—your college is likely to have resources through its school of business.
7. Join a coworking space
Coworking Spaces提供了许多好处;他们不仅给你一个在家外工作的地方（通常是一个“必须”为新的企业家，尚未设在办公室），他们会给你一个机会network, build connections,and yes, get feedback.
Bryan has had great success since joining a coworking space and recommends it to entrepreneurs looking for pitch feedback. “I joined a coworking space in West Palm Beach, FL in February 2014 and received great feedback from other startups as well as visiting mentors on my pitches,” he says. “Coworking is great because you have other like-minded entrepreneurs to help vet your ideas, your pitch, and who can empathize with your struggles.”
8. Enter a competition
Business plan and pitching competitions are a great way to get targeted, specific feedback; after all, you are putting yourself into a context where getting feedback is the main goal, as opposed to getting funding (though plenty of competitions do include a monetary prize).
Tim advises entrepreneurs to check out thislist of competitions.他警告说，虽然质量和奖金因竞争竞争而异，但它们可能是在旨在获得反馈的环境中练习投球的好方法。betway必威国际
Sean Higgins, participated in theUniversity of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management MN Cup,他说的新风险竞赛是获得建议的巨大帮助。“该过程为您提供了大量的反馈，从您的执行摘要中需要进入的所有反馈意见，以如何实际呈现您的信息。”
“Don’t sleep on pitch competitions!” he says, and we agree.
9. Deliver your pitch to friends and family
You might have heard it said before—your product concept should be broken down into language easy enough for a child to understand. After all, while you are deeply invested in your startup and know the ins and outs, your investors may not be as familiar with jargon as you are.
现在,把它进一步考虑给你ur pitch to family members, friends, children, and anyone not in your industry who is willing to listen (but, ask permission—we don’t advise simply approaching strangers or pitching to a crowded street, as you might get a few funny looks).
Delivering your pitch to people unfamiliar with your industry is a great way to spot holes in your description of your business. While you may think something is obvious, those less immersed in your industry may not, and it’s important to be as inclusive as possible when pitching your business. After all, you don’t want to lose out on an investor because they aren’t quite clear what your product or service does.
That’s a trick question—there isn’t one “best” way to vet your pitch before you pitch your business to potential investors. Ideally, try a combination of these, as that will get you the most well-rounded, complete feedback possible.
Ultimately, your goal is to cover all your bases, make sure your numbers check out, and thatyour ideas are clear and easy to understand—and getting feedback from a variety of sources is a great way to do this.
Need help developing your pitch? We’ve got you covered.Download our free Pitch Deck Templateto get started on yours today.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in2015 and updated for 2021.